Two pink lines. Congratulations, you’re going to be a parent! The journey that you are about to embark on is simultaneously wonderful and exhausting, and you’re probably feeling excited, overwhelmed, nervous, emotional, elated and terrified all at the same time just thinking about it!
Before you go researching what kind of stroller or diaper bag you want, there is one decision that trumps all others in pregnancy and birth. The one decision that will dictate how you feel about every experience you encounter over the next nine months and beyond. And this is a very important decision; because you will never forget the day your baby comes into the world.
Building Your Birth Team
Choosing the right birth team makes all the difference. Some choices are limited, as in the case of mothers with high-risk pregnancies, but the vast majority of mothers are categorized as low risk, “normal” pregnancies and can choose who they accept as their medical care provider and what options are available to them.
Whether you choose to give birth in a hospital or at home, with a doctor or a midwife, having a doula serve and support you throughout your pregnancy, birth and postpartum can make all the difference in the world!
A doula is often described as a trained labor coach but truly is much more than that. The word doula comes from the Greek word “servant” and that is exactly what a doula is there for: to serve and support you. She is on call 24/7 from the moment you hire her. While you are in labor she provides continuous support, never leaving your side. Studies consistently show that women who hired a doula for their births achieved shorter labors by 2-10 hours, had 60% reduction in epidural requests, 50% reduction in c-section rates, 40% reduction in oxytocin use, 40% reduction in forceps delivery with overall higher health outcomes for both mom and baby.
The Art of Doula
In all things birth and life related: knowledge is power and knowing your options allows you to make the most informed decision and decide the best option for yourself and your baby. A doula serves you as informational support, offering evidence based scientific facts, answering all your questions and providing information if anything unexpected were to arise throughout labor. We are here to help you make an informed decision that is safe, empowered and best for your family.
With birth being extremely physiological, much of the journey is about mind over matter and doulas also serve you as emotional support. If you feel safe and supported during labor then you body will naturally relax and perform as it was designed to, making birth much smoother and hopefully, shorter in duration. Doulas take care of all the details so that you (and your partner) are able to focus on the work of labor without the added distractions.
Furthermore, many Dads can feel unsure of how best to support a woman in labor. A doula is not there to take the place of Dad or the birth partner, rather a doula can help focus his efforts on the way to most effectively support the woman in labor and emotionally be there for her. In the event of a long labor, a doula can offer dad an opportunity to take a break, grab a snack or take a nap so that he is able to be there for the labouring mother when she needs him most.
Finally, doulas also offer physical support and are trained in techniques to keep your labor progressing by assisting you in optimal fetal positional and most effective labor positioning. We come trained in non-pharmaceutical pain management techniques that are natural and highly effective. We also know how to counter pressure back labor and other things that may arise during labor. We’ll wipe your forehead, offer you water, rub your sore muscles and hold up your legs when you’re too tired to continue. And we love to do it!
Ultimately, you need to surround yourself with positive rhetoric that supports you, believes in you and empowers you throughout your pregnancy and birth. Now is the time to tune out the dramatic, negative, chaotic, fear mongering that our society likes to burden pregnant women with and replace the hysteria with empowered women who believe in their bodies’ strength and trust their intuition.
Choose a birth team that makes you feel like Wonder Woman…because what you are doing is pretty dang wonderful and don’t ever let anyone tell you anything less.
Wishing you love and labor dust,
To inquire about Doula Services, please contact me at email@example.com. I passionately service the Fraser Valley and Vancouver, BC and would love to discuss your birth plans with you!
Ps: For additional information, I highly recommend resources such as Your Best Birth By Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein, as well as the legendary Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by the mother of modern midwifery, Ina May Gaskin.
Did you have a doula attend your birth or wish that you had? I’d love to hear your experiences in the comments below!
//Photos by M&Him Photography
//Big thanks to my clients, Jay and Olivia for allowing me to share moments of their precious journey.